Challenges and Further Resources

Inclusive Practices for the Online Environment

Gender inclusivity is also important in video conferencing, online learning and cloud-based platforms. Access to name and identification customization may be something you or your institution has access to, while some forms of customization may require student action. In either case, faculty should not assume that names listed on the class roster or online learning platforms are the appropriate names to use with students. Although using students’ names is an excellent way to build a positive classroom environment, it is advisable to learn the names and pronouns students use before communicating with them using first names or gender pronouns.

Video Conferencing

When video conferencing, ensure your account is set up to allow participants to change their names and use virtual backgrounds. This gives students more control over what information they share in remote classrooms. You can start class by inviting students to change their names and even listing their pronouns in their names.

Institutional Challenges

Official and Preferred Name Changes at your Institution:

Find out from your institution what procedures students need to follow to request an official or preferred name change at your school. You can include this information in your syllabus or course online learning platform.

Faculty should note that there may be delays in updating name and gender markers on documentation. If a name change request has not been processed before the start of the term, students may not have their correct names or gender listed on class rosters or on the online learning platform for the course. For this reason, it is a current best practice to solicit students’ name and pronoun use before the start of term or during the first class by:

  • using pre-course surveys and in-class name/pronoun cards;
  • inviting students to introduce themselves using their family name and the name they’ll be using in this class (you should mark this down); and
  • avoiding using names to call on students until you have ensured your list is accurate.


Gender and Pronouns Resources

Access to this chapter’s Zotero

Airton, Lee. 2019. Gender: Your Guide. New York: Adams Media.
Airton, Lee. 2019. The Gender-Friendly Classroom. EdCan Network. May 17.
Ashley, Florence. 2019. Les personnes non-binaires en français : une perspective concernée et militante [PDF]. H-France Salon. 11(4), #5.
Benato, Raf, Jennifer Fraser, and Francis Ray White. 2024. “Getting beyond peeing and pronouns: living non-binary gender in higher education.” Journal of Gender Studies, 1-13.
Benjamin, Alex. 2017. Le langage neutre en français: pronoms et accords à l’écrit et à l’oral. En tous Genres Blog.
Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh. Gender-Inclusive/Non-Sexist Language Guidelines and Resources.
Haimson, Oliver L. and Lee Airton. 2019. Making space for them, her, him, and ‘prefer not to disclose’ in group settings: Why pronoun-sharing is important but must remain optional. Medium: National Centre for Institutional Diversity. June 4.
Kapitan, Alex. The Radical Copyeditor.
Kapitan, Alex. 2017. The Radical Copyeditor’s Style Guide for Writing About Transgender People. Radical Copyeditor. August 31.
Manion, Jen. 2018. The Performance of Transgender Inclusion: The pronoun go-round and the new gender binary. Public Seminar. November 27.
Trans Health BC. Gender Inclusive Language: Clinical Settings with New Clients [PDF]. Provincial Health Services Authority.
TransCare BC. Gender Inclusive Language [PDF]. Provincial Health Services Authority.
SextEd (website). Inclusive Sex Ed Language.
Spade, Dean. 2018. We Still Need Pronoun Go Rounds. December 1.
Tshuma, Gift and Shayna Hadley. 2020. The Centre for Gender Advocacy, The Mapping Project Report [PDF]. October 7.


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Better Practices in the Classroom by Natalie Kouri-Towe and Myloe Martel-Perry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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